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Andriy Yarmak:

'Berries beat bananas in the global trade'

During the final berry event of 2023, called “Berry Market 2023”, organized by the association of berry growers of Moldova “Pomuşoarele Moldovei”, FAO economist Andriy Yarmak presented an assessment of the state, trends, and development prospects of the global berry market. According to EastFruit, during the expert’s presentation, several surprising facts were demonstrated to participants.

In particular, participants were surprised to learn that global trade in berries overtook bananas in 2021 and continued to hold the lead in 2022 despite the first decline in export volumes in many years. In general, exports of fresh and frozen berries at the end of 2022 brought exporters about US $13.7 billion in revenues, banana trade for the same year was worth only around US $13.7 billion. Trade of berries grew at an average rate of 9.8%, or by $1.2 billion, per year, significantly faster than the overall fruit category, which grew at an average rate of 4.3%, or $4.5 billion, per year.

The expert also noted widening gap between fresh blueberries and fresh strawberries in global trade. As of 2022, the share of fresh blueberries in global trade of fresh and frozen berries reached 34%. For the first time in 2022, blueberries entered the top 5 products of the fruit sector in terms of export volumes, equaling oranges in sales revenues.

“Fresh strawberries also maintain a high position in the global trade, mainly due to a number of positive factors. First of all, strawberries are the most common berry in the world, and they are grown literally everywhere, while blueberries and raspberries remain rare exotics for many countries. Secondly, acceleration of breeding helped strawberries hold their position as it has significantly improved the taste, appearance, and transportability of the berries. The third important factor is the transition of growing significant volumes of strawberries indoors, which makes it possible to expand the season, reduce the use of chemical plant protection, and improve the quality and taste of the berries,” noted Andriy Yarmak.

He also noted that raspberry exports are growing at the fastest rate in the berry segment – they increased by an average of 20% per year in 2018-2022. By comparison, exports of fresh blueberries grew by an average of 12% each year during the same period. “However, the volume of trade in fresh raspberries still exceeds the volume of trade in frozen ones in value terms, because fresh raspberries are the most expensive of the mass-grown berries, and prices for frozen raspberries periodically drop to extremely low levels due to its cyclicity,” says Andriy Yarmak.

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